In Ontario we have had a rash of bad incidents involving trucks. There have been fatalities, arguments against media, and a very depressing cloud over the industry in general. As a former driver and industry veteran I understand the importance of trucks to our economy and the fact that not everyone should be painted with the same brush. We have to make this industry better and it takes all of us to do our part. So that brings me to the next issue, doing your part!
What is doing your part as a professional driver?
Doing your part as a professional driver means being the professional that you are at all times. Driving safely, conducting yourself appropriately, and working to build a career for the long term by being a team player with good performance. The question becomes are you doing it?
Here is what happened to me recently that inspired this article. I was on my way to visit a client just north of Burlington in Guelph Ontario. This is approximately a 30-40 minute drive with no real issues as far as traffic goes so it shouldn’t be a problem with people trying to get to work and so forth. As I am driving to the client I was stunned to see the way some truck drivers were driving almost as if they were oblivious to other motorists on the road. Now I am normally on the side of the truck drivers most of the time, but on this morning they weren’t helping their reputation.
The first incident was a straight truck that followed me so close I thought he was going to hit me. When even in a van type vehicle I look out the window behind me and only see the grill of the truck then that’s a bad thing. This driver didn’t even seem to notice how close he was following me and forced me to change lanes until he finally turned off to another road. So far not a great start to a leisurely drive.
Further up the same road I encountered another truck that seemed to be in a hurry to get to his destination. The speed limit on the roadway was 80 kilometres per hour and this driver was pushing 100 kilometres per hour easily. I am not a cop and don’t judge people for driving fast as we all do it just to keep up with traffic. The problem arises when you are intimidating other motorists due to your speed. This particular stretch of road varies in speed from 80 kilometres per hour to 50 kilometres per hour and this driver stayed at a steady 95 the whole way causing issues with people trying to merge and slow down for posted limits. I was in front of this driver and finally let him pass watching him intimidate other drivers on the road. I followed this driver all the way to the 401 where I merged onto the highway behind this driver. This is where I became confused. When the driver got on the 401 he now was only going 90 kilometres per hour on a road that allowed him to go much faster. It was like the truck had only one speed and this driver went from intimidating others to now holding up traffic.
This may be seen as a rant but I wrote this to illustrate to you how the way you drive as a truck driver intimidates others on the road. If those of us that are seasoned veterans and understand the challenges of the industry are feeling intimidated how do you think other motorists that are not familiar with trucking feel. I personally see this as two drivers that were more interested in there own issues than being professional on the road. We all need to do our part as I mentioned earlier and being safe with proper training and driving skills is the way to start.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com